A packer is every firm manufacturing any product whatsoever that uses packaging materials to protect its products, for example, in production, storage, transport and distribution.
The packer of a product is most often its manufacturer. In addition, a wholesale business or another distributor is a packer if it adds packaging to its products.
A retailer is also a packer with regard to in-store packing.
Importers of a packed product are all firms that in one way or another import packed products into the country. The importer is the firm that owns the packed product at the moment of import.
An importer may be either a Finnish buyer or a foreign seller. In general, the definition of an importer in international trade is unproblematic, but sometimes it must be examined according to the situation or the sales contract. In most cases, the importer is a Finnish buyer. If the buyer considers that the foreign seller is responsible for the recovery of the packaging placed on the market in Finland, the matter must be resolved with the seller. When the buyer and seller state that a foreign firm is the importer of a packed product, the seller is responsible for the packaging. The Finnish buyer is required to furnish proof concerning the responsibility of the foreign seller if necessary.
The definition of packaging is explained in the third paragraph of the Council of State decision 962/1997 and other documents. Packaging preserves and protects a product and enables its handling and transport from producer to user. Packaging also provides product information and helps in sales and marketing. It also facilitates in-store display of a product. All parts that reinforce or supplement packaging are deemed to be packaging. Any product that carries out the tasks of at least one packaging, for example, a one-way tray, is deemed to be packaging. Packaging may be made of any material whatsoever. Packaging constitutes sales packaging, grouped packaging and transport packaging.
The reuse of a packaging is its use in the same form after cleaning. Finland is one of the top reusers of packaging in Europe.
The recovery of packaging waste constitutes both the recovery of packaging to make raw material for new products and recovery as energy. The recovery of packaging is not the delivery of packaging to waste collection or sorting sites. Mere sorting does not constitute recovery; it is only the first step towards recovery.
Recycling means the conversion of collected packaging material so that it can be used to manufacture a new product.
Packaging taken out of use constitutes packaging waste. Reusable packaging only becomes packaging waste when it is withdrawn from the reuse scheme. Only packaging no longer in use as packaging is deemed to be packaging waste. Hence, production spoilage or other production waste, for example, is not packaging waste.
Producer responsibility for packaging means the recovery obligations for packaging prescribed by law.